Empowering cargo capacity
The public warehouse operator has been asked to set up AFS at 10 busy cargo traffic cities with an idea to decongest air cargo terminals. The new directions were given to CWC during the review meeting chaired by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan recently in
With an aim to improve supply management of food grains and commodities, the Union Government has directed state-run Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) to explore eight-key areas, including setting up of Air Freight Stations (AFSs) in 10 cities and Private Railway Freight Terminals (PFTs).
The new directions were given to CWC during the review meeting taken here by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. The minister reviewed CWC’s corporate plan and gave new directions to diversify in context of the government's priority to achieve effective supply management of all commodities.
“The eight key areas are PFTs, Integrated Check Post, Price Support Scheme (PSS) operations, scaling up existing warehousing infrastructure, multi storied warehouses, automation of warehouses, offshore warehouses and Supply Chain Management (SCM) from farm to fork of at least one agri-commodity” informed BB Pattanaik, Managing Director, CWC.
CWC has also been asked to examine establishment of Inland Container Ports (ICPs) at Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh borders, besides looking at feasibility of
entering into procurement of pulses and oilseeds.
Basically, AFS is for supply chain management of air cargo and the government has asked CWC to convert its existing Container Freight Stations (CFSs) into AFSs on a pilot basis. The creation of AFS in busy cargo traffic cities will help in penetration of international air cargo activities into manufacturing and consumption clusters located in the hinterland.
Echoing similar views, Pattainaik shares, “After the success story of Container Freight Stations (CFSs) and Inland Container Depots (ICD), the government thought of setting up Air Freight Stations (AFSs).”
“CFSs were initially established in Mumbai and Chennai with close proximity to ports and this lead to decongestion, enhance level of efficiency and reduction in transaction cost. Then after the huge success of the CFS concept, the government has come up with the idea of ICDs. After then, these CFSs are dealing with only 30 per cent of the total cargo, and 70 per cent of that moves straight away to rail/road ICDs on to hinterland. Following the chain of thought, the Ministry of Civil Aviation thought to develop the same concept for air cargo,”he added.
The first AFS was established in Chennai on the recommendation of CBEC to convert CWC’s Chennai CFS to AFS on a pilot basis.
“The thrust of the Government in converting CFS into AFSs on a pilot basis, is to acquire land in close vicinity to airports. These AFSs will all be equipped with cargo scanners, thus the Unit Load Devices (ULDs) can be examined, sealed by customs, and then loaded to cargo planes for imports,” underlined Pattanaik.
CWC has also been asked to convert its 32 existing freight stations at rail side warehouses into private terminals and explore setting up new railway freight terminals in partnership with the private sector.
Commenting on the same, Pattanaik said, “Currently, Rail Freight Stations are operated on a profit sharing basis with the Ministry of Railways. CWC has been asked to examine a similar business opportunity with the private sector.”
Besides rail freight, the public warehouse operator has been asked to set up Inland Container Ports (ICPs) at Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh borders. CWC currently has one ICP each at Amritsar and Agartala.
That apart, CWC has been directed to renovate its old warehouses into multi-storey buildings for storage of white (electronic) goods in Delhi, Bangalore and Chandigarh. As part of short term plan, CWC has also been told to automate all 468 depots and specialise in supply chain management of one agri commodity from farm field to market. It has also been directed to expand its operations abroad and explore business opportunities in SAARC nations.
CWC, which has 470 warehouses and handles 400 commodities in a storage capacity of 104 lakh tonnes, has been informed to implement the above in a phased manner in six months to two years period.
Managing Director, CWC